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What an elegantly veiled threat.
Before Harvey Weinstein became known as one of Hollywood’s most notorious sexual predators, he was a tyrannical studio head who frequently angered filmmakers. The book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film, published back in 2004, revealed Weinstein was known in Hollywood for his tendency to manipulate and edit the films he worked on, winning him the moniker “Harvey Scissorhands.”
While many didn’t stand up to Weinstein, allowing him to edit films as he saw fit, the story was different for celebrated Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. Weinstein was the head of Disney subsidiary Miramax Films in 1997 when it gained the distribution rights to Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. Rumors circulated that Studio Ghibli co-founder and legendary director Hayao Miyazaki did the unthinkable (and absolutely commendable) and sent Weinstein a samurai sword with the message “No cuts” to tell the producer to keep his scissor hands off of the studio’s work.
It turns out, the rumors were (mostly) true.
“Actually, my producer did that,” Miyazaki said in a 2005 interview with The Guardian, “I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts.”
“I defeated him,” he reportedly added with a smile.
Ultimately, Weinstein was defeated, in a more significant way. It just took one samurai sword, a few years, and dozens of women bravely saying #metoo to prove that no man is invincible.
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.